Nomenclature

Before 1898 Russian mines were designated by the name of their designer and the model year. For example: Gertz model 1876.

Between 1898 and 1939 standard shipboard mines were designated by their model year only. For example: Model 1912.

After 1939 mines were designated by a letter code designating their function. For example: KB (Korabel'naya Mina - Shipboard mine).

Submarine mines were designated starting with PL (Podvodnaya Lodka - Submarine) or EhP, followed by extra codes designating special features. For example: PLT-2.

Magnetic mines are designated AMD. For example: AMD-1-500.

Triggering or Fuzes

Early Russian mines used contact fuzes or shore control. From 1876 to 1908 five galvanic caps with either platinum or electrical fuze were used to trigger the explosives. From 1908 Russian mines used mechanical percussion primed fuzing. The first Soviet magnetic mines appeared in 1939 and came into service use in 1942.

Explosives

Early Russian mines used simple gunpowder, switching to gun cotton in 1876. From 1908 on TNT was used as the explosive.

Effectiveness

The Russians were pioneers of mine warfare, with their first usage during the Crimean War. During that war, some 1,865 mines were laid down in the Baltic Sea. While no British ships were damaged by the mines, their presence is often credited with preventing a British attack on Kronshtadt.

Mines were widely used once again during the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-78, with 1,218 mines laid down. These were used mainly for protection of ports and on the Danube river. At least one Turkish ship was sunk by them.

Mines were intensively used by the Russian Navy during the Russo-Japanese War of 1905. Mines were the most effective weapons that Russian Navy had and had sunk far more Japanese ships than the rest of the Russian Navy combined. During the war, 4,275 mines were laid down and they accounted for two Japanese battleships, two cruisers, five gunboats, six destroyers and a dispatch ship.

Russian mine warfare expertise reached its pinnacle during World War I. Due to the discrepancy of the forces in the Baltic, the Russian Navy had to resort to mine warfare as its primary offensive weapon. In the Baltic Sea, the Russian Navy laid down a total of 38,932 mines in both offensive and defensive mine fields, which cost the Germans 48 warships sunk and 21 warships damaged. In 1916, 11 German destroyers tried to attack a Russian force in the Baltic but were driven off without a shot being fired when seven of their number were sunk by mines.

During the war, in all theaters, the Russian Navy laid down over 52,000 mine which sank 64 enemy warships. There is no data on the number of enemy transports and auxiliaries sunk. Overall, the Russians laid down 700-800 mines per warship sunk. This may be favorably compared to the total number of mines laid by all other combatants during this war, which was 308,700. These mines resulted in 207 ships sunk, a ratio of 1,500 mines per ship. This makes Russian mine tactics about twice as effective as most other combatants.

In World War II Russian minefields were also very extensive, but brought only limited success. A total of 40,070 mines were laid by the Soviet Navy and according to Soviet estimates over 200 enemy warships, transports and auxiliary ships were sunk by these mines. However, many Soviet warships and transports were also lost on their own minefields.

Pre-Russo-Japanese War

Yakobi Model 1854

Total Mass Unknown
Explosive Charge Gunpowder; 22 - 31 lbs. (10 - 14 kg)
Trigger/Fuze Contact fuze
Maximum Depth 100 feet (30m)

One of the first mines in the world. Used in Crimean War.

Nobel Model 1854

Total Mass Unknown
Explosive Charge Gunpowder; 7 - 9 lbs. (3 - 4 kg)
Trigger/Fuze Pyrotechnical fuze
Maximum Depth 100 feet (30m)

One of the first mines in the world. Used in Crimean War.

Yakobi Model 1855

Total Mass Unknown
Explosive Charge Gunpowder; 57 - 62 lbs. (26 - 28 kg)
Trigger/Fuze Contact fuze
Maximum Depth 100 feet (30m)

Used in Crimean War.

Boreskov Ground Mine Model 1854

Total Mass Unknown
Explosive Charge Gunpowder; 53 lbs. (24 kg)
Trigger/Fuze Fired from shore
Maximum Depth 100 feet (30m)

Used in Crimean War.

Yakhtman Model 1856

Total Mass Unknown
Explosive Charge Gunpowder; 35 lbs. (16 kg)
Trigger/Fuze Pyrotechnic contact fuze
Maximum Depth 100 feet (30m)

Used in Crimean War.

Hertz Model 1876

Total Mass Unknown
Explosive Charge Gun-cotton; 71 lbs. (32 kg)
Trigger/Fuze 5 Hertz horns
Maximum Depth 130 feet (40m)

Used in Russo-Turkish War of 1877-78.

Russo-Japanese War and World War I

In June 1941 there were a total of 12,205 mines of Models 1908, 1912 and 1916 in storage. There were also 2,791 of the R - "Rybka", 1915 mines in storage.

Model 1898

Total Mass Unknown
Explosive Charge 123 lbs. (56 kg) Gun-cotton
Trigger/Fuze 5 Hertz horns
Maximum Depth 130 feet (40m)

Moored contact mine. Used in Russo-Japanese War.

Model 1906

Total Mass Unknown
Explosive Charge 123 lbs. (56 kg) Gun-cotton
Trigger/Fuze 5 Hertz horns
Maximum Depth 130 feet (40m)

Moored contact mine. Modified Model 1898 mine with a new anchor and several other improvements that made the mine easier to use. Used in Russo-Japanese War.

Model 1908

Total Mass 1268 lbs. (575 kg)
Explosive Charge 254 lbs. (115 kg) TNT
Trigger/Fuze 5 Hertz horns
Maximum Depth 360 feet (110 m)

Moored contact mine. Extremely successful mine. Main Russian mine at the start of World War I. With slight modifications used by the Russian/Soviet Navy until 1960s.

Model 1909

Total Mass Unknown
Trigger/Fuze 5 Hertz horns

Moored contact mine.

Model 1912

Total Mass 1323 lbs. (600 kg)
Explosive Charge 221 lbs. (100 kg) TNT
Trigger/Fuze Percussion mechanical fuze
Maximum Depth 425 feet (130 m)

Moored contact mine. Modification of a model 1909 mine with hydrostatic system for automatic depth setting.

P-13, 1913

A floating mine with electrical flotation system, recommended for production, but not produced due to the start of the war.

R - "Rybka", 1915

Total Mass 418.9 lbs. (190 kg)
Explosive Charge 20 - 27 lbs. (9 - 12 kg) TNT
Trigger/Fuze Percussion mechanical fuze
Maximum Depth 425 feet (130 m)

Small moored contact mine for river use. There was also a anti-submarine version usually set at the depth of 60 feet (18 m).

PL-100, 1915

Total Mass Unknown
Explosive Charge 221 lbs. (100 kg) TNT
Trigger/Fuze Percussion mechanical fuze
Maximum Depth 425 feet (130 m)

Submarine, tube-launched, moored, contact mine. Modification of a model 1912 mine for submarine use.

Model 1916

Total Mass 1654 lbs. (750 kg)
Explosive Charge 254 lbs. (115 kg) TNT
Trigger/Fuze 5 Hertz horns
Maximum Depth 1,400 feet (425 m)

Moored contact mine.

1917 to 1945

Model 1926, (M-26)

Total Mass 2,116 lbs. (960 kg)
Explosive Charge 551 lbs. (250 kg) TNT
Trigger/Fuze Percussion mechanical fuze
Maximum Depth 425 feet (130 m)

Moored contact mine. Main Soviet mine of between the wars period and most numerous mine of the Soviet Union at the start of World War II. As of June 1941 there were a total of 26,823 mines in storage. It was the most widely used Soviet mine of World War II with 16,794 mines laid down during the first year of the war.

MAB-1, 1932

Total Mass Unknown
Explosive Charge 253 lbs. (100 kg) TNT
Trigger/Fuze Percussion mechanical fuze
Maximum Depth 425 feet (130 m)

High-altitude, aircraft laid mine. A modification of the Model 1912 mine. Mine was too bulky for normal service use and production stopped in 1936. Deployed from 1,600 feet (500 m) height.

Model 1908/39

Total Mass 1,305 lbs. (592 kg)
Explosive Charge 254 lbs. (115 kg) TNT
Trigger/Fuze 5 Hertz horns
Maximum Depth 390 feet (120 m)

Moored contact mine. Modification of the 1908 mine. Used by the Russian/Soviet Navy until 1960s.

Mirab, 1939

Total Mass 617 lbs. (280 kg)
Explosive Charge 141 lbs. (64 kg) TNT
Maximum Depth 50 feet (15 m)

Magnetic, aircraft laid, low-altitude, ground mine. As of June 1941 there were 95 of these mines in storage.

R-1, 1939

Total Mass 606 lbs. (275 kg)
Explosive Charge 88 lbs. (40 kg)
Maximum Depth 130 feet (40 m)

Moored contact river mine.

AMG-1, 1939

Total Mass Unknown
Explosive Charge 552 lbs. (250 kg)

Aircraft laid mine. A modification of model 1912 mine. Deployed from a height of 660 feet (200 m). Main Soviet aircraft mine of World War II. As of June 1941 there were a total of 502 of AMG-1 and other aircraft mines in storage.

KB, 1940

Total Mass 2347.9 lbs. (1065 kg)
Explosive Charge 507 lbs. (230 kg) TNT
Maximum Depth 850 feet (260 m)

Moored contact mine. Best Soviet mine of World War II. Could be used as an ASW mine. As of June 1941 there were a total of 7,945 mines in storage.

AG, 1940

Total Mass 2469 lbs. (1,120 kg)
Explosive Charge 508 lbs. (230 kg)
Trigger/Fuze 0 - 2 Bronze antenna fuzes, and 5 Hertz horns
Maximum Depth 1,575 feet (480 m)

Moored contact mine. Shared the same hull with the KB mine. For anti-submarine use.

PLT, 1940

Total Mass 1,808 lbs. (820 kg)
Explosive Charge 529 lbs. (240 kg) TNT
Trigger/Fuze Percussion mechanical fuze
Maximum Depth 425 feet (130 m)

Submarine, tube-launched, moored contact mine.As of June 1941 there were a total of 2849 mines in storage.

EhP, 1941

Total Mass 2,315 lbs. (1,050 kg)
Explosive Charge 661 lbs. (300 kg) TNT
Trigger/Fuze 5 Hertz horns
Maximum Depth 525 feet (160 m)

Designed for K-class large submarines. Moored contact mine. As of June 1941 there were a total of 16 mines in storage.

A Mark IV, 1941

Total Mass 1,479 lbs. (671 kg)
Explosive Charge 728 lbs. (330 kg)
Trigger/Fuze Magnetic fuze

A magnetic mine bought from the British in July 1941.

A Mark V, 1941

Total Mass 1,003 lbs. (455 kg)
Explosive Charge 617 lbs. (280 kg)
Trigger/Fuze Magnetic fuze

A magentic mine bought from the British in July 1941.

PLT-2, 1942

Total Mass 1,686 lbs. (765 kg)
Explosive Charge 661 lbs. (300 kg) TNT
Trigger/Fuze 5 Hertz horns
Maximum Depth Any

Submarine launched mine with pneumatic flotation mechanism, which allowed the mine to be set at any depth and held it there for up to 10 days.

PLT-3, 1942

Submarine mine for launching from 533 mm (21") torpedo tubes of standard submarines. Unreliable and so was not widely used.

AMD-1-500, 1942

Total Mass 1,102 lbs. (500 kg)
Explosive Charge 661 lbs. (300 kg) TNT
Maximum Depth 20 - 100 feet (6 - 30 m)

Magnetic, aircraft/ship laid, ground mine.

AMD-1-1000, 1942

Total Mass 2,205 lbs. (1,000 kg)
Explosive Charge 1,543 lbs. (700 kg) TNT
Maximum Depth 20 - 100 feet (6 - 30 m)

Magnetic, aircraft/ship laid, ground mine.

YaM, 1943

Total Mass 379 lbs. (172 kg)
Explosive Charge 44 lbs. (20 kg) TNT
Trigger/Fuze Hertz fuze
Maximum Depth 164 feet (50 m)

Small moored contact coastal mine. Can be used as a ground mine in shallow water.

PLT-G, 1943

Total Mass 1,808 lbs. (820 kg)
Explosive Charge 529 lbs. (240 kg) TNT
Maximum Depth 855 feet (260 m)

Modification of PLT mine for deep water use.

EhP-G, 1943

Total Mass 2,315 lbs. (1,050 kg)
Explosive Charge 573 lbs. (260 kg) TNT
Trigger/Fuze 5 Hertz horns
Maximum Depth 1,150 feet (350 m)

Modification of EhP mine for deep water use.

AGSB, 1944

Total Mass 2469 lbs. (1120 kg)
Explosive Charge 507 lbs. (230 kg)
Trigger/Fuze 0 - 2 antenna fuzes, and 5 Hertz horns
Maximum Depth 1,640 feet (500 m)

Moored contact mine. Modification of the AG mine. For anti-submarine use.

AMD-2-500, 1945

Total Mass 1,102 lbs. (500 kg)
Explosive Charge 661 lbs. (300 kg) TNT
Maximum Depth 20 - 165 feet (6 - 50 m)

Magnetic acoustic, aircraft/ship laid, ground mine. Known as the KMD-2-500 when laid by ships.

AMD-2-1000, 1945

Total Mass 2,205 lbs. (1,000 kg)
Explosive Charge 1,543 lbs. (700 kg) TNT
Maximum Depth 20 - 165 feet (6 - 50 m)

Magnetic-acoustic, aircraft/ship laid, ground mine.

Post-1945

I lack reliable data for mines produced after 1945.

Sources

Data from:

  • "S-Boote: German E-boats in action 1939 - 1945" by Jean-Philippe Dallies-Labourdette
  • "Miny VMF SSSR" (Mines of the Soviet Navy) by Yu. L. Korshunov and B. K. Lyamin
  • "Miny Rossiyskogo Flota" (Mines of the Russian Fleet) by Yu. L. Korshunov and Yu. P. D'yakonov
  • "Sovetskie Boevye Korabli 1941-45: IV Vooruzhnie" (Soviet Warships 1941-45: Volume IV Armament) by A.V. Platonov

Special help from Gary Cartwright, Marc Lemaire and Vladimir Yakubov.

Page History

20 November 2007 - Benchmark

24 February 2013 - Added photographs of Model 1908 mines